Since the 90’s, kids were scratching records at home 12 years before DJ Hero
Activision, with its Guitar Hero franchise, revolutionized the music video game market. With a guitar peripheral format that fit perfectly, the franchise was a total success. It went on to collaborate with great exponents of music such as Metallica, Aerosmith and more. But, one format that really appealed to a niche group of people was DJ Hero.
A video game that allowed all gamers to become DJs from home. A revolutionary format that had 2 editions. But, if I tell you that the first “DJ Hero” type game came out 12 years earlier for the PSX? Beatmania, a game developed by Konami, allowed the kids of the 90s to make amazing mixes from the first PlayStation console.
A game exclusive to the Japanese market
As was common in the 90s, many amazing games remained exclusive to the Japanese public. One of them was beatmania, which was released both for the PSX and in an arcade version. Here in the US, although you may have never heard of it, we did have a version of beatmania. If you frequented the arcades in the 90s, you may have come across an arcade game called HipHop Mania. This was Konami’s adaptation of the name for the American market to make it fit more easily.
Still, it wasn’t a very famous arcade machine. In its day, being a very new format, nobody wanted to play it. Not because it was difficult, or very repetitive, but because action and fighting games ruled the arcades. Therefore, Konami’s focus with beatmania was always the Japanese market. Even, during some months after the release, Konami sold in music stores, CD’s of the game with new repertoires. Something very typical of the Japanese market.
A very well made peripheral for the time
If you know a little about retro videogames, you will know that the 90s was the golden age of peripherals. Especially in the Japanese market. In this case, Konami managed to develop a peripheral for beatmania that simply, at that time, blew your mind. With a turntable the size of an average hand, and 5 buttons, in a turntable format it made the gameplay unbelievable.
You can even tell that Activision borrowed part of this model for their DJ Hero peripheral. Since, in addition to having a very similar size, it had a layout similar to that of Konami’s game. The TikTok user chadmaska, shared in his account a small video showing how this peripheral looked like, and therefore, a small gameplay of beatmania.
In it, we can see how advanced was this game and the peripheral to its time. It presented an incredible gameplay experience very fluid with no delay between pressing the turntable buttons and the game.
You didn’t know this incredible game and peripheral? This is why I love retro video games. At that time developers bet everything on every single game. Leaving behind extremely bad games, and masterpieces. Which, in cases like this, were hidden in the Japanese market.